Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Paucity of Thoughts

Today is hard to render into words yet. Not sure why. A bit wistful anticipating leaving... so much not explored, especially getting to know people I've met here better, and get to know the city. I hope I can return and remain involved at a distance. Talking with more young people helped me to see that there is real potential for change here, solid hope and much opportunity.

Conducted two focus groups with medical students today... learned a lot. Perhaps too much to write about in a formulated manner, yet. I found myself thinking, though, that the groups did not surface much if anything about foreign people being targeted, and wondering if that was in part due to my presence in the room. There is a kind of politeness which is hard to overcome, where people won't speak freely for many reasons, not the least of which seems to be a deeply ingrained adherence to structure and social constraints. Future groups will have to take this into account more specifically.

The other thing is I am struck by how kind and hospitable most everybody has been. While I miss my home, Marina, and other familiar elements of life in New York, I feel two weeks has been a very very short time to get a handle on such a complex place. I am just beginning to feel a sense of connection with people I've met, and we've been working so hard there has been little time to see things with any depth or sense of leisure.

With a bit of surprise, I didn't connect until yesterday that I'd lived in England in college with being in Mumbai, which has so much British influence... but when I made the connection I think it helped.

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